On March 27, 2012, it was announced that Jane Fonda will play the role of Nancy Reagan, wife of the late President Ronald Reagan, in an upcoming film titled THE BUTLER, a historical drama about the life of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler in the White House under eight presidents.
Jane Fonda, also known as Hanoi Jane, was a radically outspoken liberal opponent of the Vietnam War, whereas Ronald Reagan was a conservative proponent of defeating the expansion of global communism. Naturally, this has sparked an uproar in certain quarters.
Seven years ago, I wrote a newspaper column about an incident involving Jane Fonda which incited many conservative readers, particular military veterans, who responded to my piece with much anger and venom.
In April 2005, actress Jane Fonda, age 67, was in Kansas City signing copies of her new book titled MY LIFE SO FAR when a 54-year-old Vietnam veteran named Michael Smith approached her and spit tobacco juice in her face.
After being arrested for disorderly conduct, Smith said he considered his actions to be a "debt of honor."
Vietnam was once a colony of France called French Indochina. In 1945, a Communist activist named Ho Chi Minh proclaimed independence from French rule by quoting passages of the American Constitution and began a guerilla warfare movement against the French Provisional Government.
When Dwight Eisenhower became president in 1953, he sent military aid to the French in order to prevent a communist takeover of the region.
After an eight-year struggle in which a total of 400,000 men on both sides perished, France pulled out of Vietnam in 1954. An agreement, called the Geneva Accord, was reached whereby Vietnam would be divided at the 17th parallel with Communists to the north and non-Communists to the south.
True to their cause, the Communists in the north soon wanted to reunite the country into a single Communist entity. Concerned with the expansion of Communism, the USA began shipping military supplies and training a South Vietnamese Army.
Eventually, a bloody confrontation erupted.
The subsequent Kennedy and Johnson Administrations sent American troops into Vietnam, greatly escalating the conflict over the next decade.
The Vietnam "conflict" was never declared a "war" by congress. Apparently they didn't want to alarm the American public that there was carnage taking place on the other side of the world and we were smack dab in the middle of it.
It was an abrupt turning point in American history. Our country suddenly became divided by ideology -- war is required to maintain freedom versus war is wrong and unnecessary.
One point of view held that the world was slowly and methodically being taken over by Communism and Vietnam was the place where freedom lovers would make their stand. Communism is the enslavement of humanity. It is an insidious system whereby the people serve the government, rather than the government serving the people, and does not allow any political recourse for change, short of revolution. Those under the rule of a collective society become virtual prisoners of an omnipotent government that dictates roles and results. Those who cherish individual freedom vehemently oppose such oppression.
This is a valid viewpoint -- those who understood the dire consequences of Communism attempted to put a stop to it and Vietnam was the battleground of the day.
The other point of view was that war is wrong, especially this corrupt war. The military-industrial complex loves to build weapons of war and occasionally yearns for a place to utilize them. Vietnam was a nice little country half way around the world -- a good place to start a "limited" conflict. The spook industry (CIA, etc.), where the ends justify the means, spends a great deal of resources covertly manipulating events -- this was certainly true in Vietnam (including assassinating South Vietnamese political leaders who wouldn't follow the USA line).
This is also a valid viewpoint -- those who were appalled by the USA being the self-appointed global police force, deliberately initiating bloody conflicts around the world, wanted to put an end to what they perceived as an unnecessary war, based on unwarranted fear and corporate profits. Plus, American interventionism also generates much negative global reaction toward the USA.
In essence, both sides had a valid point of view and both sides underestimated the consequences.
The Vietnam Conflict affected everyone of that era. I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966-68 during the Vietnam Conflict and it took another year after I was discharged just to get back to where I was before I was drafted. I had a friend who lost a foot in Vietnam and knew a couple of guys who died over there. We all paid a price.
Yes, there was a valid reason for the conflict.
Yes, there were multiple valid reasons for opposing it.
Jane Fonda was opposed to the Conflict and was extremely outspoken about it, including her infamous trip to North Vietnam in an attempt to bring attention to the adverse consequences of war.
"To be a revolutionary you have to be a human being -- you have to care about people who have no power." Jane Fonda
Opposition to war is obviously a positive attitude. But when the Hitler's and the Communists of this world attempt to overpower you and impose their will upon you, war is a preferable option than allowing yourself to be overrun by tyranny. The price of freedom is the endless struggle against those who wish to take it from you.
Jane Fonda has since apologized for some of her actions but remains steadfast in her opposition to our involvement. Whether you agree with her or not, she is courageous in her convictions. She took a gob of spittle in the face and took it in stride, understanding the motive behind the attack and choosing not to press charges.
Spitting on Jane Fonda only makes whoever spit on her look like a fool. It's an act of cowardice that dishonors everything our country stands for, including the freedom to think for yourself and the freedom to express your views. When you disagree with your government you have an obligation to speak up.
Jane Fonda will forever be haunted by her actions decades ago. She's either hated or admired, depending on your point of view. But even some of those who hate her also respect her for her courage.
As for reprisals, she was married to Ted Turner for 10 years -- that alone should to be punishment enough for her past deeds.
"Ted needs someone to be there 100% of the time. He thinks that's love. It's not love -- it's babysitting." Jane Fonda
There were a few incidences during the 1960s when soldiers returning from Vietnam were spit upon by protestors of our military presence in Vietnam. This is beyond absurd and highly offensive. Our gallant young men and women in the Armed Forces put their lives and limbs on the line under the assumption of preserving freedom. They do not choose who or where or when to fight, they simply do their duty to protect the primary objective of a free society -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Spitting on soldiers is an insult. Their function is to serve and protect the citizens. There is much madness and evil in this world, requiring armed units to defend the principles of freedom.
Spitting on Jane Fonda is an insult. The function of protest is to bring forth alternatives to government actions. Imagine a world without protestors -- a world of sheep, blindly following government dictates while quietly toiling like worker bees. In North Korea and elsewhere, those who protest are confined to labor camps or exterminated. I prefer to live in a world where protest is allowed, regardless of the message or the messenger.
To many, Jane Fonda went beyond proper protest protocol when she went to N. Vietnam and called our leaders "war criminals." You don't have to embrace the message or the messenger -- but you do need to protect the right to non-violent protest.
All war is evil -- but sometimes there is no choice.
However, sometimes war is simply a manufactured exercise to make rich men richer.
This world is not run by governments -- it is run by those who control governments. This includes international bankers who profit from both sides of war, many of which they also have a hand in creating. The ruling elites, who control monetary systems and media, empower political leaders who will do their bidding. They manipulate events behind the scene to satisfy their lust for wealth and power. The more conflict they can generate, the closer they will be to creating a One-World government (under the guise of ending conflicts), with them in control of the entire planet.
And at the very top of the Pyramid of Power is an "unknown, invisible" Force that controls the elites. But that's a topic for another time.
There is courage in war and there is courage in trying to stop it -- voices of protest must be heard.
Quote for the Day -- "It is forbidden to kill -- therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." Voltaire
Bret Burquest is the author of 8 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY, ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS and PATH TO FOURTH DENSITY (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where spitting is a competitive sport.